Disney's First Black Princess


#1

I was on AOL checking my mail… and I just happen to come upon this article! I don’t think Disney is wrong for not making the Prince black… I don’t know what’s up with people… I don’t want anything mean so IDK…

Oh, boy

After years of flack from the African American community, in 2006, the Disney company saw fit to finally include an African American princess in its pantheon of animated royals – which in the past had representation from every other racial and ethnic group (Jasmine, Pocahontas, Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel, etc.)

In December of this year, the company is set to release ‘The Princess and the Frog,’ set in New Orleans and featuring Princess Tiana, voiced by actress Anika Noni Rose. Oprah Winfrey is voicing Eudora, Tiana’s mother.

Oddly enough, though, Princess Tiana is black; her prince is not. That’s right – even though there is a real-life black man in the highest office in the land with a black wife, Disney obviously doesn’t think a black man is worthy of the title of prince. I guess Sasha and Malia and all the other little black girls out there should just shut up and be thankful to have something! Little black boys will have to wait another 20 years.

Prince Naveen of Maldonia is voiced by a Brazilian actor, and his skin is … tan. His hair and features are decidedly non-black. This has left many in the community shaking their head in befuddlement and even rage.

It’s not like Disney isn’t used to the controversy. Over the years, it has offended blacks, Jews, women’s groups and some shade of everyone else. Appropriately, controversy has dogged the ‘The Princess’ since its inception. Originally, the black princess was named Maddy, a maid working for a white family set in 1920s New Orleans.

Both the name (which sounds eerily close to Mammy) and position made many take pause, so Maddy became Tiana, a more African American name. Even choosing New Orleans with its history of slavery and voodoo had some in an uproar. That toothless firefly that sounds like a slave (see video) isn’t likely to convert many fans either.

Some, including Rose, think it’s all good: “It’s great and wonderful, and bigger even is being the first American princess,” the Tony Award-winner told Black Voices. “They have chosen to give the world an American princess who looks like me. I really can’t think of anything else that would be more exciting,” she added.

I’m sure folks could come up with a couple.


#2

Actually… of the six official Disney princesses - Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, Ariel, and Jasmine - only one is of a different skin tone. I don’t consider Mulan or Pocahontas princesses because they came along much later and were not of royal blood and did not marry a prince (or maybe Mulan’s fellow was a prince… I don’t quite recall… I know he was a soldier). There has definitely not been representation for “every racial and ethnic group.” I have yet to see a Latino “royal.”

I have a feeling this new “princess” is not really a princess, considering it’s set in New Orleans, and as far as I know, New Orleans is not a monarchy. :laugh: I find it odd (rather ironic, really) that it’s taking place in the deep south… I wonder if she’ll have a southern accent. (She better… and it better be a real southern accent - not a thick, fake, really drawn out, ghetto sort of accent.)

As for Tiana being a more “African American name,” I also find that mildly amusing. I don’t quite understand the problem with “Maddy.” I think people are looking too far into it.

And if they made the prince black, what would that really teach young girls? That you must marry within your own race? Disney princesses are known for accepting (and loving!) someone who is different from them (Belle and the Beast, Ariel and Eric, Pocahontas and John, Jasmine and Aladdin… all were opposites! In fact, Snow White and Cinderella were the only ones who notabley “married up” :laugh: - and even so, they were still quite different from their prince).

But I hope this is animated like a classic. I was afraid that Lilo and Stitch would be the last Disney film using classic animation. I am rather tired of this computer animation.


#3

Agree with most of what LMM says here. But although some are “princesses”, I think little girls (I raised two) gravitate to the young, pretty, female face characters pretty equally and even though they may know some are princesses they consider them equal or have their favorite. DD#2 loved Pocahontas and certainly considered her a Native American princess. So in reality, Disney already has 3 princesses “of color” and it’s great they’re adding a fourth! Although not perfect (who is), Disney has come a long way since I was kid to truly embrace the cultures of the world.


#4

I think that article has an agenda and a rather bad attitude. I think it’s worth it to explore why the prince isn’t black as an intellectual discussion, but the author clearly just wants to score some points rather than explore.

And for what it’s worth, I don’t think Tiana OR Maddy are good names for 1920s New Orleans.


#5

Now let’s hear from the the Germans, Italians, Romanians, on and on…


#6

goodness…whoever wrote that article is a wee bit cranky.


#7

I TOTALLY agree. :glare:


#8

If the author of that article was here I’d stick gum in their eyeballs.


#9

Well said LMM.


#10

Evidently rest of the world thinks like us. I found this article posted on blackvoices.com with a polll attached. Out of over 80,000 votes, 73% thought that Princess Tiana’s prince not being black was NOT offensive.


#11

I always though of Pocahontas as a princess because her father was the leader of the tribe, like a King? And I thought Mulan came from some sort of monarcy? I could be wrong! There all Princess’ to me lol. I think people are trying to read too much into this and make the film something it isnt. Its not trying to be all political and offensive or whatever these people say it is, its just a Disney film!


#12

Yes, apparently someone peed in their Corn Flakes:glare:


#13

[QUOTE=LittleMissMagic;948573]

In fact, Snow White and Cinderella were the only ones who notabley “married up” :laugh: - a.[/QUOTE]

I love that line.:laugh:

I guess I see both sides…on one side, I can see where we should be trying to teach children that it is the person you ARE - not the colour of your skin or your ethnicity that matters…yet on the other hand, I can understand that many would wonder - why can’t the Prince be black? Although since he starts out as a frog -shouldn’t he be French Canadian?:laugh:

And there is the whole matter of it being set in New Orleans…I can’t think of any princesses in New Orleans…

Is this based on a book? Cause I’ve heard about The Frog Prince - but I’m pretty sure that was an European story.

OK - this whole thing is confusing me. (and Maddy is one heck of a popular name now, anyway).


#14

[QUOTE=Andrea;948694]I think that article has an agenda and a rather bad attitude. I think it’s worth it to explore why the prince isn’t black as an intellectual discussion, but the author clearly just wants to score some points rather than explore.

And for what it’s worth, I don’t think Tiana OR Maddy are good names for 1920s New Orleans.[/QUOTE]

Seriously. It seems a handful of journalists are making a big deal out of it, while the general public doesn’t care much. :laugh:


#15

It depends on how much Disney is pulling from reality.

Our “kings” aren’t of royal blood. The tribal leaders are elected officials, and there can be numerous ones serving at a time. So there isn’t like a family that titles will be passed down through. But the families are more prominent and respected.

So if you look at that and kinda twist it a little, you can give Pocahontas the “princess” title, like most people do. However, I’d personally like to give that movie back to Disney and pretend it doesn’t exist. :ph34r:


#16

Hey, I am an African American and I didn’t find it offensive that the Prince wasn’t also an African American…we are in America and seeing bi-racial couples are the norm. However, I wonder what would have been said if the races were reversed? Caucasian princess, African American Prince…give me a break.


#17

BWAAAHHAAAAA! Nobody messes with Wishy’s Disney!


#18

Whoever wrote this article is looking for a fight where one doesn’t belong. Maybe Disney is just trying to show the diversity in couples. Interracial couples is a very popular thing now. Not everything is malicious.


#19

I completely agree, it’s a fight looking for a fight where one doesn’t necessarily exist. Why can’t Tiana just fall in love with who she fell in love with? Jeeez, it’s a little archaic to insinuate that “even though there is a real-life black man in the highest office in the land with a black wife, Disney obviously doesn’t think a black man is worthy of the title of prince.”

Excuse me? That statement disgusted me. That, to me, is like saying “Every person I saw standing in line at the ice cream shop bought a vanilla cone, obviously this community doesn’t think chocolate is good enough to be sold here.” :huh: It’s obvious to me that the writer of that passage is the one with the issue.

Let’s call a spade a spade; the person who wrote that is an alarmist & none of his words hold any worth to my attention.


#20

[QUOTE=Kippage;948775]It depends on how much Disney is pulling from reality.

Our “kings” aren’t of royal blood. The tribal leaders are elected officials, and there can be numerous ones serving at a time. So there isn’t like a family that titles will be passed down through. But the families are more prominent and respected.

So if you look at that and kinda twist it a little, you can give Pocahontas the “princess” title, like most people do. However, I’d personally like to give that movie back to Disney and pretend it doesn’t exist. :ph34r:[/QUOTE]

Get your point on the movie, but I guess I saw it as just a cartoon movie and DD#2 adored the character AND that the face character playing Pocahontas that Rachel met and spent 20 minutes talking to her when she was a tot (and she was REALLY Native American) and a superb CM then I can’t say anyting bad about it in front of her. lol.

Also, again I think most little girls at WDW think of all of the young female face characters as “princesses” and want to be like them. That’s the good part.

Having said all that, have we (America) made any really good (major) films about Native Americans? Maybe “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” or the offbeat “Little Big Man” (I read about George Custer as a hero when I was a kid).